Urine trou­ble

Focus-Science and Technology - - Focus Reader Survey -

I was most dis­ap­pointed to read, in your other­wise ex­cel­lent mag­a­zine, that you chose to re­port the fake news mas­querad­ing as a ‘statis­tic’ re­gard­ing urine re­leased in a swim­ming pool (May, p82).

Surely that statis­tic is un­ver­i­fi­able and would ac­tu­ally re­quire most of us (we!) swim­mers to be in­con­ti­nent? I sus­pect the ‘news’ was re­leased to the me­dia by a patho­log­i­cal non-swim­mer who has had to en­dure tak­ing his kids to early morn­ing swim­ming lessons!

Con­versely, and per­haps more wor­thy of your at­ten­tion, all swim­ming pools are checked daily, by wa­ter sam­ple, for fae­cal con­tam­i­na­tion (not for urine) and there­fore it should be pos­si­ble to work out ex­actly how much poo is float­ing about in the av­er­age swim­ming pool in a day. An ideal project for that in­tern, surely?

Keep up the good work, I find the ar­ti­cles on par­ti­cle physics most en­joy­able. Richard Gra­ham, Aberdeen­shire Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but the statis­tic – that 75 litres of urine was ‘re­leased’ in a large pool over a three-week pe­riod – came from a study pub­lished in the jour­nal En­vi­ron­men­tal Science

& Tech­nol­ogy Let­ters. They tested a pub­lic pool for traces of ar­ti­fi­cial sweet­en­ers, as th­ese aren’t metabolised by the body as they pass through. – Ed

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